Blandings Castle and Elsewhere

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The author of almost a hundred books and the creator of
Jeeves, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and
Mr Mulliner, P.G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and educated
at Dulwich College. After two years with the Hong
Kong and Shanghai Bank he became a full-time writer,
contributing to a variety of periodicals including
Punch
and the
Globe.
He married in 1914. As well as his novels
and short stories, he wrote lyrics for musical comedies
with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, and at one time had
five musicals running simultaneously on Broadway. His time in
Hollywood also provided much source material for fiction.

At the age of 93, in the New Year's Honours List of 1975,
he received a long-overdue knighthood, only to die
on St Valentine's Day some 45 days later.

Some of the P. G. Wodehouse titles to be published
by Arrow in
2008

JEEVES

The Inimitable Jeeves
Carry On, Jeeves
Very Good, Jeeves
Thank You, Jeeves
Right Ho, Jeeves
The Code of the Woosters
Joy in the Morning
The Mating Season
Ring for Jeeves
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
Jeeves in the Offing
Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves
Much Obliged, Jeeves
Aunts Aren't Gentlemen

UNCLE FRED

Cocktail Time
Uncle Dynamite

BLANDINGS

Something Fresh
Leave it to Psmith
Summer Lightning
Blandings Castle
Uncle Fred in the Springtime
Full Moon
Pigs Have Wings
Service with a Smile
A Pelican at Blandings

MULLINER

Meet Mr Mulliner
Mulliner Nights
Mr Mulliner Speaking

GOLF

The Clicking of Cuthbert
The Heart of a Goof

OTHERS

Piccadilly Jim
Ukridge
The Luck of the Bodkins
Laughing Gas
A Damsel in Distress
The Small Bachelor
Hot Water
Summer Moonshine
The Adventures of Sally
Money for Nothing
The Girl in Blue
Big Money

P.G.WODEHOUSE

Blandings Castle

... AND ELSEWHERE

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ISBN 9781409063568

Version 1.0

www.randomhouse.co.uk

Published by Arrow Books 2008

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Copyright by The Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate

All rights reserved

This electronic book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

First published in the United Kingdom in 1935 by Herbert Jenkins Ltd

Arrow Books
The Random House Group Limited
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA

www.rbooks.co.uk

www.wodehouse.co.uk

Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited
can be found at:
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The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009

A CIP catalogue record for this book
is available from the British Library

ISBN: 9781409063568

Version 1.0

Blandings Castle

...AND ELSEWHERE

PREFACE

E
XCEPT
for the tendency to write articles about the Modern
Girl and allow his side-whiskers to grow, there is nothing an
author to-day has to guard himself against more carefully than
the Saga habit. The least slackening of vigilance and the thing
has gripped him. He writes a story. Another story dealing with
the same characters occurs to him, and he writes that. He feels
that just one more won't hurt him, and he writes a third. And
before he knows where he is, he is down with a Saga, and no cure
in sight.

This is what happened to me with Bertie Wooster and Jeeves,
and it has happened again with Lord Emsworth, his son Frederick, his butler
Beach, his pig the Empress and the other residents of Blandings Castle. Beginning
with
S
OMETHING
F
RESH
,
I went on to
L
EAVE
I
T TO
P
SMITH
,
then to
S
UMMER
L
IGHTNING
,
after that to
H
EAVY
W
EATHER
,
and now to the volume which you have just borrowed. And, to show the habit-forming
nature of the drug, while it was eight years after
S
OMETHING
F
RESH
before the urge for
L
EAVE
I
T TO
P
SMITH
gripped me, only eighteen
months elapsed between
S
UMMER
L
IGHTNING
and
H
EAVY
W
EATHER
.
In a word, once a man who could take it or leave it alone, I had become an
addict.

The stories in the first part of this book represent what I may
term the short snorts in between the solid orgies. From time to
time I would feel the Blandings Castle craving creeping over me,
but I had the manhood to content myself with a small dose.

In point of time, these stories come after
L
EAVE
I
T TO
P
SMITH
and before
S
UMMER
L
IGHTNING
.
P
IG-HOO-O-O-O-EY
,
for example, shows Empress of Blandings winning her first silver medal in
the Fat Pigs class at the Shropshire Agricultural Show. In
S
UMMER
L
IGHTNING
and
H
EAVY
W
EATHER
she is seen struggling to repeat in the following year.

T
HE
C
USTODY OF THE
P
UMPKIN
shows Lord Emsworth passing through the brief
pumpkin phase which preceded the more lasting pig seizure.

And so on.

Bobbie Wickham, of
M
R
P
OTTER
T
AKES A
R
EST
C
URE
,
appeared in three of the stories in a book called
M
R
M
ULLINER
S
PEAKING
.

The final section of the volume deals with the secret history
of Hollywood, revealing in print some of those stories which are
whispered over the frosted malted milk when the boys get
together in the commissary.

P. G. WODEHOUSE

Blandings Castle
1 THE CUSTODY OF THE PUMPKIN

T
HE
morning sunshine descended like an amber shower-bath
on Blandings Castle, lighting up with a heartening glow its
ivied walls, its rolling parks, its gardens, outhouses, and messuages,
and such of its inhabitants as chanced at the moment
to be taking the air. It fell on green lawns and wide terraces, on
noble trees and bright flower-beds. It fell on the baggy trousers-seat
of Angus McAllister, head-gardener to the ninth
Earl of Emsworth, as he bent with dour Scottish determination
to pluck a slug from its reverie beneath the leaf of a lettuce. It
fell on the white flannels of the Hon. Freddie Threepwood,
Lord Emsworth's second son, hurrying across the water-meadows.
It also fell on Lord Emsworth himself and on
Beach, his faithful butler. They were standing on the turret
above the west wing, the former with his eye to a powerful
telescope, the latter holding the hat which he had been sent to
fetch.

'Beach,' said Lord Emsworth.

'M'lord?'

'I've been swindled. This dashed thing doesn't work.'

'Your lordship cannot see clearly?'

'I can't see at all, dash it. It's all black.'

The butler was an observant man.

'Perhaps if I were to remove the cap at the extremity of the
instrument, m'lord, more satisfactory results might be obtained.'

'Eh? Cap? Is there a cap? So there is. Take it off, Beach.'

'Very good, m'lord.'

'Ah!' There was satisfaction in Lord Emsworth's voice. He
twiddled and adjusted, and the satisfaction deepened. 'Yes, that's
better. That's capital. Beach, I can see a cow.'

'Indeed, m'lord?'

'Down in the water-meadows. Remarkable. Might be two
yards away. All right, Beach. Shan't want you any longer.'

'Your hat, m'lord?'

'Put it on my head.'

'Very good, m'lord.'

The butler, this kindly act performed, withdrew. Lord Emsworth
continued gazing at the cow.

The ninth Earl of Emsworth was a fluffy-minded and amiable
old gentleman with a fondness for new toys. Although the
main interest of his life was his garden, he was always ready to try
a side line, and the latest of these side lines was this telescope of
his. Ordered from London in a burst of enthusiasm consequent
upon the reading of an article on astronomy in a monthly
magazine, it had been placed in position on the previous evening.
What was now in progress was its trial trip.

Presently, the cow's audience-appeal began to wane. It was a
fine cow, as cows go, but, like so many cows, it lacked sustained
dramatic interest. Surfeited after awhile by the spectacle of it
chewing the cud and staring glassily at nothing, Lord Emsworth
decided to swivel the apparatus round in the hope of picking up
something a trifle more sensational. And he was just about to do
so, when into the range of his vision there came the Hon.
Freddie. White and shining, he tripped along over the turf like
a Theocritan shepherd hastening to keep an appointment with a
nymph, and a sudden frown marred the serenity of Lord Emsworth's
brow. He generally frowned when he saw Freddie, for
with the passage of the years that youth had become more and
more of a problem to an anxious father.

Unlike the male codfish, which, suddenly finding itself the
parent of three million five hundred thousand little codfish, cheerfully resolves
to love them all, the British aristocracy is apt to look with a somewhat jaundiced
eye on its younger sons. And Freddie Threepwood was one of those younger sons
who rather invite the jaundiced eye. It seemed to the head of the family that
there was no way of coping with the boy. If he was allowed to live in London,
he piled up debts and got into mischief; and when you jerked him back into
the purer surroundings of Blandings Castle, he just mooned about the place,
moping broodingly. Hamlet's society at Elsinore must have had much the same
effect on his stepfather as did that of Freddie Threepwood at Blandings on
Lord Emsworth. And it is probable that what induced the latter to keep a telescopic
eye on him at this moment was the fact that his demeanour was so mysteriously
jaunty, his bearing so intriguingly free from its customary crushed misery.
Some inner voice whispered to Lord Emsworth that this smiling, prancing youth
was up to no good and would bear watching.

 

The inner voice was absolutely correct. Within thirty seconds
its case had been proved up to the hilt. Scarcely had his lordship
had time to wish, as he invariably wished on seeing his offspring,
that Freddie had been something entirely different in manners,
morals, and appearance, and had been the son of somebody else
living a considerable distance away, when out of a small spinney
near the end of the meadow there bounded a girl. And Freddie,
after a cautious glance over his shoulder, immediately proceeded
to fold this female in a warm embrace.

Lord Emsworth had seen enough. He tottered away from the
telescope, a shattered man. One of his favourite dreams was of some nice,
eligible girl, belonging to a good family, and possessing a bit of money of
her own, coming along some day and taking Freddie off his hands; but that
inner voice, more confident now than ever, told him that this was not she.
Freddie would not sneak off in this furtive fashion to meet eligible girls,
nor could he imagine any eligible girl, in her right senses, rushing into
Freddie's arms in that enthusiastic way. No, there was only one explanation.
In the cloistral seclusion of Blandings, far from the Metropolis with all
its conveniences for that sort of thing, Freddie had managed to get himself
entangled. Seething with anguish and fury, Lord Emsworth hurried down the
stairs and out on to the terrace. Here he prowled like an elderly leopard
waiting for feeding-time, until in due season there was a flicker of white
among the trees that flanked the drive and a cheerful whistling announced
the culprit's approach.

It was with a sour and hostile eye that Lord Emsworth
watched his son draw near. He adjusted his pince-nez, and
with their assistance was able to perceive that a fatuous smile
of self-satisfaction illumined the young man's face, giving him
the appearance of a beaming sheep. In the young man's buttonhole
there shone a nosegay of simple meadow flowers, which, as
he walked, he patted from time to time with a loving hand.

'Frederick!' bellowed his lordship.

The villain of the piece halted abruptly. Sunk in a roseate
trance, he had not observed his father. But such was the sunniness
of his mood that even this encounter could not damp him.
He gambolled happily up.

'Hullo, guv'nor!' he carolled. He searched in his mind for a
pleasant topic of conversation – always a matter of some little
difficulty on these occasions. 'Lovely day, what?'

His lordship was not to be diverted into a discussion of the
weather. He drew a step nearer, looking like the man who
smothered the young princes in the Tower.

'Frederick,' he demanded, 'who was that girl?'

The Hon. Freddie started convulsively. He appeared to be
swallowing with difficulty something large and jagged.

'Girl?' he quavered. 'Girl? Girl, guv'nor?'

'That girl I saw you kissing ten minutes ago down in the
water-meadows.'

'Oh!' said the Hon. Freddie. He paused. 'Oh, ah!' He paused
again. 'Oh, ah, yes! I've been meaning to tell you about that,
guv'nor.'

'You have, have you?'

'All perfectly correct, you know. Oh, yes, indeed! All most
absolutely correct-o! Nothing fishy, I mean to say, or anything
like that. She's my
fiancée'

A sharp howl escaped Lord Emsworth, as if one of the bees
humming in the lavender-beds had taken time off to sting him
in the neck.

'Who is she?' he boomed. 'Who is this woman?'

'Her name's Donaldson.'

'Who is she?'

Aggie Donaldson. Aggie's short for Niagara. Her people
spent their honeymoon at the Falls, she tells me. She's American
and all that. Rummy names they give kids in America,' proceeded
Freddie, with hollow chattiness. 'I mean to say! Niagara!
I ask you!'

'Who is she?'

'She's most awfully bright, you know. Full of beans. You'll
love her.'

'Who is she?'

'And can play the saxophone.'

'Who,' demanded Lord Emsworth for the sixth time, 'is she?
And where did you meet her?'

Freddie coughed. The information, he perceived, could no
longer be withheld, and he was keenly alive to the fact that it
scarcely fell into the class of tidings of great joy.

'Well, as a matter of fact, guv'nor, she's a sort of cousin of
Angus McAllister's. She's come over to England for a visit, don't
you know, and is staying with the old boy. That's how I happened
to run across her.'

Lord Emsworth's eyes bulged and he gargled faintly. He had
had many unpleasant visions of his son's future, but they had
never included one of him walking down the aisle with a sort of
cousin of his head-gardener.

'Oh!' he said. 'Oh, indeed?'

'That's the strength of it, guv'nor.'

Lord Emsworth threw his arms up, as if calling on Heaven to
witness a good man's persecution, and shot off along the terrace
at a rapid trot. Having ranged the grounds for some minutes, he
ran his quarry to earth at the entrance to the yew alley.

The head-gardener turned at the sound of his footsteps.
He was a sturdy man of medium height, with eyebrows that
would have fitted a bigger forehead. These, added to a red
and wiry beard, gave him a formidable and uncompromising
expression. Honesty Angus McAllister's face had in full measure,
and also intelligence; but it was a bit short on sweetness and
light.

'McAllister,' said his lordship, plunging without preamble
into the matter of his discourse. 'That girl. You must send
her away.'

A look of bewilderment clouded such of Mr McAllister's
features as were not concealed behind his beard and eyebrows.

'Gurrul?'

'That girl who is staying with you. She must go!'

'Gae where?'

Lord Emsworth was not in the mood to be finicky about
details.

Anywhere,' he said. 'I won't have her here a day longer.'

'Why?' inquired Mr McAllister, who liked to thresh these
things out.

'Never mind why. You must send her away immediately.'

Mr McAllister mentioned an insuperable objection.

'She's payin' me twa poon' a week,' he said simply.

Lord Emsworth did not grind his teeth, for he was not given
to that form of displaying emotion; but he leaped some ten
inches into the air and dropped his pince-nez. And, though
normally a fair-minded and reasonable man, well aware that
modern earls must think twice before pulling the feudal stuff on
their
employés,
he took on the forthright truculence of a large
landowner of the early Norman period ticking off a serf.

'Listen, McAllister! Listen to me! Either you send that girl
away to-day or you can go yourself. I mean it!'

A curious expression came into Angus McAllister's face – always
excepting the occupied territories. It was the look of a
man who has not forgotten Bannockburn, a man conscious of
belonging to the country of William Wallace and Robert the
Bruce. He made Scotch noises at the back of his throat.

'Y'r lorrudsheep will accept ma notis,' he said, with formal
dignity.

'I'll pay you a month's wages in lieu of notice and you will
leave this afternoon,' retorted Lord Emsworth with spirit.

'Mphm!' said Mr McAllister.

Lord Emsworth left the battle-field with a feeling of pure
exhilaration, still in the grip of the animal fury of conflict. No
twinge of remorse did he feel at the thought that Angus McAllister
had served him faithfully for ten years. Nor did it cross his
mind that he might miss McAllister.

But that night, as he sat smoking his after-dinner cigarette,
Reason, so violently expelled, came stealing timidly back to her
throne, and a cold hand seemed suddenly placed upon his heart.

With Angus McAllister gone, how would the pumpkin fare?

 

The importance of this pumpkin in the Earl of Emsworth's
life requires, perhaps, a word of explanation. Every ancient
family in England has some little gap in its scroll of honour,
and that of Lord Emsworth was no exception. For generations
back his ancestors had been doing notable deeds; they had sent
out from Blandings Castle statesmen and warriors, governors
and leaders of the people: but they had not – in the opinion of
the present holder of the title – achieved a full hand. However
splendid the family record might appear at first sight, the fact
remained that no Earl of Emsworth had ever won a first prize for
pumpkins at the Shrewsbury Show. For roses, yes. For tulips,
true. For spring onions, granted. But not for pumpkins; and
Lord Emsworth felt it deeply.

For many a summer past he had been striving indefatigably to
remove this blot on the family escutcheon, only to see his hopes
go tumbling down. But this year at last victory had seemed in
sight, for there had been vouchsafed to Blandings a competitor
of such amazing parts that his lordship, who had watched it
grow practically from a pip, could not envisage failure. Surely, he
told himself as he gazed on its golden roundness, even Sir
Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe, of Matchingham Hall, winner for
three successive years, would never be able to produce anything
to challenge this superb vegetable.

And it was this supreme pumpkin whose welfare he feared he
had jeopardized by dismissing Angus McAllister. For Angus
was its official trainer. He understood the pumpkin. Indeed, in
his reserved Scottish way, he even seemed to love it. With Angus
gone, what would the harvest be?

Such were the meditations of Lord Emsworth as he reviewed
the position of affairs. And though, as the days went by, he tried
to tell himself that Angus McAllister was not the only man in
the world who understood pumpkins, and that he had every
confidence, the most complete and unswerving confidence, in
Robert Barker, recently Angus's second-in-command, now promoted
to the post of head-gardener and custodian of the Blandings
Hope, he knew that this was but shallow bravado. When
you are a pumpkin-owner with a big winner in your stable, you
judge men by hard standards, and every day it became plainer
that Robert Barker was only a makeshift. Within a week Lord
Emsworth was pining for Angus McAllister.

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